Case Study – CNPP Group
CNPP GROUP | Christophe Caplain
Christophe Caplain, Deputy Head, Fire Laboratory, CNPP
Company name: CNPP Group
Industry: Risk prevention and control
What is your role?
“I’m the deputy head of the Fire Laboratory, responsible for carrying out performance assessments of customers’ fire safety equipment. In our laboratories, we test products such as fire detectors (smoke, heat, aspirating, flame), sounders, visual alarm devices, control and indicating equipment, voice alarm equipment, smoke extraction and extinguisher systems, all in accordance with National, European and International standards.”
When do you need to use English?
“I use English in my job every day, talking to people by email, on the phone or face-to-face. My colleagues and customers are located all over Europe and are from a wide range of nationalities, so we use English as a common language to discuss current projects and other fire safety issues.
I take part in a weekly internal meeting with colleagues to exchange information and assess current projects. I also regularly speak to customers to inform them about the testing we’re carrying out on their equipment. I sometimes have to use quite complicated technical language when discussing standards or the results of performance tests.”
Did the immersion experience meet your needs?
“The course at Abbey was very interesting and designed around my requirements. It helped me improve all aspects of my English. I was able to reach my personal target, which was to speak with more confidence on the phone and in meetings. I was really pleased with the help and encouragement I received.
The conference call and meeting simulations were very useful as they related to real-life workplace situations. I was also able to practise my presentation skills in front of an audience. Overall, it was a rewarding experience… I was very satisfied by the professionalism of the teachers.
Having lunch with the teachers at Abbey and attending social events in the evenings also helped me to improve other aspects of my English in ‘social’ situations. I’m now able to use this vocabulary when I go out to restaurants with my customers.
Living with a family for a week was a good way of finding out about life in the UK and learning new language not just related to work. It provided me with a very rounded experience.”
What impact has the course had on your work?
“The training has had a very positive impact on my working life. I’m now more confident when speaking and writing in English. I feel my vocabulary, grammar and fluency have all improved. People I work with say they understand my English better, so my team has benefited as well.
I sometimes find it quite difficult to understand native speakers when they speak quickly or use colloquial English. But after the course I could understand what people were saying more easily and I have gained more confidence in talking on the phone and in meetings.
My learning is ongoing. I have lots of opportunities every day to practise my English during phone calls and meetings and on customer visits. And as well as using English at work, I practise at home using online apps, by listening to the BBC news and by referring to my lesson notes from the course.”